Otto Lana

About Me

A high school student in San Diego, he is an advocate who champions the right to communicate. Otto walks the walk and talks the talk.

He has presented at several conferences and served as a Department of Rehabilitation youth leadership delegate in 2021. He lends his voice to policymakers in the California Department of Education in the Build Back Better planning as well as the transition program Bridge to the Future.

He has been a guest speaker in college classrooms (San Francisco State University and Cal State University San Marcos) for graduate students and virtual classrooms for professionals and educators. He has also received some accolades from big names in the disabled community.

He is a recipient of the inaugural Heumann-Armstrong Award for Excellence and the Harry Servidio Memorial Leadership Award for his work in advocacy and inclusion.

When he’s not busy with honors courses and public speaking he runs a successful e-commerce website with his unique brand of wit and positive energy, selling waterproof letterboards he designed for his active lifestyle and apparel sporting the motto “Everyone Belongs Here”. Nothing is more important than the sharing feeling of belonging. And everyone loves merch with a meaning. He does this using text to talk software. Otto has autism and apraxia. These diagnoses describe him but do not define him.

Proceeds from his website fund non-profit organizations that support the right to communication for disabled individuals and provide letterboards to people who cannot afford them. We is you and me. “WEEEEEEEE!” is the feeling of being included. Find your WEEEEEE. Feel the WEEEEEEE. He helps you remember the feeling of a hands up roller coaster flying with no brakes screaming “WEEEEEEEE!” That is what inclusion done right feels like.

His most recent work involves changing the depictions of disabled individuals in the media. One of Otto’s Mottos is “Be the type of change you wish to see in others.” He is collaborating with Hollywood’s best to change the current image of disabled people on your screens. He wants leading roles for the neurodiverse community, not victims of bullies or caricatures of disheveled nerds. He learned through his work with Elaine Hall and the angels at The Miracle Project this dream can be a reality.

Meeting Beth Dubber and Kiki Stash has been the spark to light the rocket fuel of his moonshot. The era of JFK and the Space Race is what he identifies with and these two brought it to life. He was called a flight risk as a child and has taken a new spin on that derogatory term and is thankful because you better be a flight risk if you are launching a moonshot.